There is more than one reason to be concerned about belly fat. Most often when it appears that our six pack is hiding behind a back pack, we worry about looking and feeling unattractive. More important than how belly fat makes us look is how it often serves as a health warning. Too much belly fat is frequently a sign that health problems may be on the horizon. These include diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and even some types of cancer. How much belly fat is too much? A tape measure can tell. Use one to check your waist; it should be less than 35 inches if you are a woman or 40 inches if you are a man. If your waist measures more, don’t give up on slimming down. Try the following foolproof strategies to get rid of stubborn belly fat. It’s not just a matter of looks; it may also be a matter of life.
The four keys to reducing belly fat are diet, self-care, exercise and rest. Give regular attention to each for best results.
Food choices matter. Aim for meals and snacks that include protein and fiber. This combination will reduce your cravings for the unhealthy, calorie laden foods that feed belly fat. Fiber is particularly important because it helps you feel full longer, which means you will eat less. Fiber also keeps your digestive system running smoothly…enough said.
Other advice about managing diet to reduce belly fat:
- Limit fried foods
- Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables (try steaming or sautéing and skip the butter, sauce, oil and other diet saboteurs.).
- Drink alcohol in moderation.
- Eat regularly (including breakfast) to avoid the gorging that usually follows missed meals.
Stress, anxiety and insomnia often lead to comfort eating. There is nothing wrong with treating yourself sometimes, but the trouble with comfort eating is it is almost always done to excess. Be sure your schedule includes activities at least weekly (daily is better) that balance and restore you. Chips and ice cream are not the answer, but meditation or a brisk walk might be.
Belly fat hates exercise so it stops hanging around. Chase your belly fat away with at least 30 minutes of exercise 3 or 4 times a week. Warm up first and then make it your goal to work up a sweat. You don’t have to run ten miles, just move vigorously enough that you breathe a little harder and your heart beats a little faster. Play with your kids, dance to your favorite tunes or do some yard work; as you move, you lose.
Get adequate rest
Most adults need at least 7 hours of sleep each evening. Of course there are times when that won’t be possible, but as a rule adequate rest should be your goal. Sleep is not a luxury. We need sleep to maintain optimal cognitive and physical functioning. Too little sleep may also help us pack on the belly fat. When you feel tired you are less likely to handle stress well and more likely to over snack on unhealthy food. Want to get rid of belly fat? Pack it in at a decent hour every night.
Stubborn belly fat need not hang around if it isn’t wanted. Flatten your spare tire with an action plan that gives belly fat the boot.